Iraq: 15 February – New Zealand – Tens of thousands march across North and South Islands

The international day of protest against George Bush’s war for oil kicked off in New Zealand, where protests took place in more than 10 cities around the country.

15 February. No to war in Iraq. cwi reports from around the world. New Zealand.

Tens of thousands march across North and South Islands

In Auckland, 8-10,000 took part in a demo along the main street. Simultaneously, a huge banner flown from a fixed wing aircraft could be spotted over the harbour as the yachts took off for the America’s Cup sailings.

In Wellington, a turnout of about 3,000 meant that the organisers had to change the venue of the rally to the Parliament Park since the originally intended Midland Park would have been to small for the crowd. In Christchurch, about 2,000 demonstrated against war.

In Dunedin, on the South Island, around 3,000 took part in a lively march along the main shopping street, George St., to the rally at The Octagon in the heart of the city. This meant a turnout twice the size of that of the previous rally in January – a clear sign that the anti-war mood in NZ has grown stronger in the last weeks. It was made clear from the platform that the participants of the rally do not support an attack on Iraq under any circumstances, should such an attack have a UN resolution behind it or not. This is clearly in opposition to the position of the Labour government, which has said no to a unilateral attack, but will support it if there is a resolution by the Security Council. The message was clearly brought home to the government as a minister, Pete Hodgson, actually attended the rally. He also heard the demand for an immediate withdrawal of the NZ frigate currently operating in the Gulf assisting the UK military in upholding the UN sanctions on Iraq.

Socialist Alternative, the CWI group in NZ, took part in the campaign for the Dunedin protest, where we sold copies of our paper The Socialist.

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